Or maybe it’s a trick — hard to say.
A couple years ago Cecil and I recorded a version of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven,” partly as a way to test out his new recording setup. The results were mixed: I was never entirely happy with my contribution, but Cecil did a fantastic job on the music and the mixing, so I think that this deserves to finally see the light of day. Or the dark of night, whatever. And what better day than today?
So without, further ado, here’s The Raven.
Bela Lugosi was born on this day in 1884.
But now he’s dead.
Undead undead undead.
I’m happy to report that Bauhaus was in fine form. Pete Murphy’s voice was as powerful as ever, though he has a big bald spot now, along with a blond dye job and a seedy-looking moustache; thankfully, he’s toned down the goofy dancing and now carries himself with a certain dignity. Daniel Ash played the bejeezus out of his guitar and looked like he’s been hitting the gym; formerly a wispy, skinny-armed English lad, he now sports big guns that he showed off with a sleeveless outfit. The Haskins boys, David and Kevin, provided a reliable backbone on bass and drums, and didn’t seem to have aged a bit. Kevin, in particular, pounded on his kit with the energy and enthusiasm of a teenager — but with the precision of a seasoned veteran.
The whole band, in fact, seemed to just plain enjoy being Bauhaus again, and this energy animated the music and thus the audience. The set list was close to perfect; sounding especially good were “She’s in Parties,” “Rosegarden Funeral of Sores,” and “Hollow Hills.” Ash got a chance to sing on an amped-up version of “Slice of Life,” always a personal favorite of mine, and there was no arguing with the encores: “Bela Lugosi’s Dead,” “Telegram Sam,” and to wrap things up, “Ziggy Stardust.” Murphy even wished us all sweet dreams before exiting stage left. On the whole, I don’t know what more I could have asked for from Bauhaus in 2005, except maybe Love and Rockets as the opening act — but that would be greedy.
Bauhaus, somber and well-dressed as always.
Tonight is the Bauhaus show at the Warfield, and though it’s a perfect day for it — gray and gloomy as all get-out — I am a little apprehensive.
I am hard-pressed to explain, even to myself, my great love for Bauhaus. In some ways they are just the kind of band I usually hate: a bunch of pretty boys who take themselves way too seriously. But when I started listening to their records back in 1985 — two years after they’d split up — I was completely hooked. There was just something about them…a purity of purpose that captures perfectly what it’s like to be 19, 20 years old, artsy and alienated and seething with morbid sexuality.
Which makes me wonder, now that they’re these 45-year-old dudes, and I’m no spring chicken myself, will it be the same? Will it be pure nostalgia, or will the magic still be there? I guess we’ll find out soon enough.
Anytime someone makes a movie that truly surprises me in this day and age, I figure they’ve accomplished something. David Cronenberg’s new one, A History of Violence, starts off looking like it’s going down one particular road and then just keeps making left turns. You really never know what’s going to happen next, which makes for a very nervous-making viewing experience. At times the suspense is downright Hitchcockian, and in fact there’s a moment early on that makes me think of Psycho…but I won’t elaborate any further, because I don’t want to give anything away.
Cronenberg has always been a master of the twisted cinema, and this one is no exception, though it’s twisted in a much different way than his early horror films. I highly recommend it, with the caveat that it’s extremely brutal, both violence-wise and psychology-wise, though not gratuitously so. This is not a good popcorn movie, but it is a brilliant piece of filmmaking.
It’s the exception rather than the rule for a cover to be better than the original, especially when the original is a Captain Beefheart song. But take a listen to this:
The song is called “Electricity,” and the problem with the Captain’s version is not so much the performance as the sound quality, which was poor even for its day. So the song was just laying there for twenty years or so waiting for Sonic Youth to come along and run a million fucking volts through it, which they did on the now out-of-print Beefheart tribute album Fast’n’Bulbous. The result is transplendant, or superious, or some other Don King-style adjective.
Oh, by the way, play it loud.
On the way down to Grand Avenue recently I ran across the following poster plastered to the side of a newspaper box:
I’ve intentionally made this photo so low-res as to be unreadable, because the poster appears to be the result of someone’s disturbing love obsession, and the love object is mentioned by name several times in the course of a bizarre screed that reads as follows (all spelling, grammar, and opinions are the author’s):
This is not a flyer, just a personal letter. Im so tired, your wearing me out. You got two coats of shellack off last night/this A.M. and I realize that you are determined to NEVER let me get the last word.
Your girlfriend/crime partner called me a filthy name, and YOU are going to take the punishment if I don’t get an apology and damn quickly.
Outside of that, I could find a “normal” relationship among the teenaged girls who LOVE my singing. I’m going to be playing/singing on the street, and making $$$ for my daily food, and glue etc. etc. Xeroxes cost a lot, and I don’t know if you appreciate all the love I put into trying to communicate with you.
I Want you so badly, and you need me so badly, your “girlfriend” who is jealous of my cool hair, (your never going to guess the current colour) I had it done back to my natural shade of Reddish Brown, and I got all the grey burned hair softened and looking like God created me. I look real nice cleaned up, and Everyone in town thinks your Insane for not loving me, and me insane for loving a Bitchface like you. No wonder your hanging out with a Piedmont Ave Petty Drug Dealer like “Purple Top”. She is a piece of crap, I’ve already made progress in finding out what her name is, who she is copping from, and why she is so nasty to me…
She wants to be your only lover, and resents the fact that I can Pound your cute chubby little Butt for hours and I have the heavy equipment, all she have is a plastic imitation and Stupid Looking Badly Coloured Hair.
So if you don’t want your powerlessness, poverty (my movie producer saw you panhandling last weekend by Bart Station. )and you and your nasty friend’s Dirty Business postered, broadcasted, and if I can talk myself into wasting the $$$, I put up a billboard on Piedmont Ave and Montclair, and take out ads in the newspapers……… I had better get some kind of intelligent response to all of this. I love you and I realize how stupid I am for loving such a Low Class Looser Drug Abusing Lying Bisexual Nasty Retarded Bitchface Scorpio such as you………
I love you,
Leonardo the Lover
My question is, is this guy a genuine murderous psycho, or just somebody who loves himself a little too much and can’t understand why this girl doesn’t? Discuss amongst yourselves.